I say Myanmar, you say Burma

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Wed May 7 13:22:27 UTC 2008

On Tue, May 6, 2008 at 6:01 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
> If they didn't have such a tin ear, they would have renamed the place
>  "Ukrainia," given fact that, in Ukrainian, there's no way to
>  distinguish between "Ukraine" and "The Ukraine." The "distinction" is
>  peculiar to English (and to various other articulated languages, of
>  course).

ISTR the argument that the origin of the word was a common noun that
meant something like "borderland", which is how the article got into
the English name. The Ukrainian government reasoned that their country
was not a borderland, especially now that it was independent again.

Mark Mandel

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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